SAN DIEGO - The Navy on Tuesday canceled all remaining 2013 performances of its popular Blue Angels squadron, including those slated for the annual Miramar Air Show, due to budget constraints.
"Naturally, it's disappointing," said Cmdr. Thomas Frosch, the commander of the team. "We put a lot of work into the demonstrations."
The Navy and Marine Corps flight team begins every air show season by preparing at NAS El Centro.
"We fly three to four times a day, 30 to 40 hours a month getting ready," Frosch said from the team's headquarters in Pensacola, Fla. "Even if funding were restored, it's not something we can just turn on and off at a moment's notice."
Lt. Aaron V. Kakiel, assistant public affairs officer for the commander of Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said, "Recognizing budget realities, current defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government. This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them."
Lt. Tyler Balzer of the Miramar Public Affairs Office said this year's Miramar Air Show would feature a number of other military and civilian performers, aside from the Blue Angels.
"They're someone we enjoyed having in the past, but they're certainly not what makes the Miramar Air Show the Miramar Air Show," Balzer said.
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force will be more prominent in the performance than in years past, he said.
Balzer said this year's show would be "an opportunity to showcase more of the Marine Corps itself."
The Miramar Air Show is scheduled for Oct. 4-6.
The Blue Angels missed a performance in 2007 due to a scheduling conflict, but their absence this year is unprecedented.
"It hasn't happened since Korea, but we sent them to Korea," said Frosch. "This is the first time the team has been grounded for this amount of time."
The Blue Angels will continue to train to maintain flying proficiency until further notice at its home station in Pensacola, Kakiel said.